Archive for the 'Bleach' Category

21
Oct
08

Cool Replicas – Part 2: Benihime

Welcome to the next installment of my miniseries about second gen replicas that are think are improvements of ones I have already posted about. Today we take a look at yet another Zanpakuto from the anime Bleach, Specifically that of Kisuke Urahara. This is another great weapon found by Mozza (thanks again!) called Benihime – The Crimson Princess:

Kisuke Uraharas Zanpakuto - Benihime Shikai

Kisuke Urahara's Zanpakuto - Benihime (Crimson Princess) Shikai

This sword is the Shikai form of Kisukes Zanpakuto Benihime (Crimson Princess), which is a sword cane with a curved handle in its unawakened form. In an earlier post, I had talked a little bit about how I thought this particular design actually had a lot of good practical design point.

I won’t go over its detailed physical attributes again, but I will point out that the other sword was not so much a sucky sword as much as it was not as detailed, accurate and meticulously finished as this one. In this design, you can see a lot more effort has been put into giving it more depth and character.

In this one the canted pommel is much more prominently featured, as is the unusual ricasso. The little triangles attached to the ricasso actually hang from a tassel in the anime, but I suppose it’s a minor detail that is not of much structural significance.

It is difficult to tell from this pic whether this shares the same full tang construction of the first Benihime I posted about, but if it does not it would be an inferior design, though it would make for an interesting contrast. Shame that the pictures are not particularly clear about how well put together this weapon is at a physical level.

If I were a betting creature, I would guess this build is structurally of lesser quality than the other. Which makes this kind of a bittersweet weapon to post about, since even though the it is a much more “accurate” reproduction compared to the other, the other one appeared to be constructed in a way that would still make a superior weapon.

So while It’s aesthetically clearly superior, and gets a good grade on accuracy, fit and finish, the practicality and the durability of it’s construction may leave something to be desired.

Why does it seem like there is always a trade off somewhere… ?

Kisuke Urahara’s Zanpakuto: Benihime Shikai – [Anime Castle]

19
Oct
08

Cool Replicas – Part 1: Zabimaru

The regular readers on this here blog thingy will know that one of my pet peeves is cheap, poor, inaccurate and otherwise needlessly mediocre reproductions of cool weapons that could very easily have been made to much more closely mimic the weapons they were inspired by.

Now I realize that cost is always a factor. And that many repro houses are simply out to make a quick buck off a blockbuster movie, anime or video game, but sometimes I think the lengths to which they go to save said buck makes no sense. A typical example was the first reproduction of the Zanapkuto Zabimaru from the Anime Bleach.

If you will remember, I was clearly not pleased with what they did to it. However I was pleasantly surprised to find another version of it that was a much better match to the anime weapon. And since I also had a couple of readers send me links to improved versions of weapons I had griped about in the past, I thought I’d make a little mini series of posts related to them.

So welcome to the first in the series: Cool Replicas – Part 1: Zabimaru

Renji Abarais Zanpakuto - Zabimaru

Renji Abarai's Zanpakuto - Zabimaru

[click on image to view full size]

Now THIS is a reproduction. This, my friends, is a solid steel version of Zabimaru, replete with all of the original evil spikes, points, and other bladed wickedness that Zabimaru tends to sport.

As you can see from the pic, this version is not a dumbed down version of the blade, as the other one was, and actually does a very good job of reproducing a design that would admittedly be very difficult to manufacture cheaply.

The pic below is of the hilt of Zabimaru, and it’s a good indicator of the quality of the build on this blade. You can see that there is a lot of attention to detail, and a lot of work went into the fit and finish of this replica.

Zabimaru - Hilt

Zabimaru - Hilt

[click on image to view full size]

However the most telling feature is how they captured one of the more difficult to replicate aspects of Zabimaru’s design: The blade spikes. In the Anime, Zabimaru is actually a sectioned blade, and each section is able to move independently, like a blade whip.

Each spike actually coincided with the transition between one segment of blade to the next, and created a very prominent ridge to visually make this distinction. Now the reality of it is that making a real sectioned blade would be almost impossible to manufacture at any kind of reasonable price point in real life.

The way the last repro I looked at handled it was to use a single piece of metal, and just carve out sections of the blade to form little bumps where the spikes were supposed to be… Yes, bumps. (BUMPS?!?! THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SPIKES!!! YOU HEATHENOUS WRETCHES!!!) OK, ok, just calm down… Whoosaaah… *sigh*

Zabimaru - Good Blade Spikes

Zabimaru - What Blade spikes are SUPPOSED to look like...

[click image to view full size]

Ok… So anyway, as opposed to what the last HACKS and CHARLATANS did, the pic above shows what those designers should have done. The smart thing. The good thing. The kind of thing that brings glory and honor to evil spiked weapons everywhere… 🙂 Add steel blade spikes to either side Zabimarus’ blade to replicate the ridges and spikes of the anime version! These guys are geniuses!

So overall, I’d have to say I’m pretty impressed with this rendition of Zabimaru. And work like this this clearly demonstrates something that I, and many blade enthusiasts like me, have said all along. There is really no need to go the dirt cheap route with a replica blade. Most folks will pay a little more for a well constructed replica, so there is a good business case for making high quality reproduction blades.

Zabimaru - A Replica with Soul...

Zabimaru - A Replica with Soul...

[click image to view full size]

All it takes is for a designer who is interested in quality, as opposed to just churning out trash. And if this replica is any indication, it means there actually exist living, breathing, thinking, non bean counter controlled replica houses who are just as interested in accuracy and quality as in making a buck.

It warms the glowing embers of my heart I tell ya. And that ain’t an easy thing to do…

Zabimaru – [Swords Swords]

09
May
08

And Now for Something Completely Different…

In my last post I did a little gushing about how black blades are the greatest thing since sliced bread, all that and a bag of chips, etc. etc. etc. Well, I came across this interesting blade from the Anime series Bleach, and decided, to be fair, to blog about a sword from the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I give you:

Rukia Kukichi’s Zanpakuto “Sode no Shirayuki”

(Sleeved White Snow)

Rukia Sleeved White Snow Sword

[view full size]

Now this sword, is a Zanpakutō, or soul cutting sword, and each is imbued with a sentient spirit that helps it’s wielder to battle otherworldy foes. This particular Zanpakuto is wielded by the co-protagonist Rukia Kukichi, who is herself a soul reaper. When it’s sentient spirit is activated, the sword becomes completely snow white, with a characteristic long white ribbon, and gains awesome power.

As swords go, this is almost as far as you can get from the sinister black swords I usually blog about. The sword itself is not particularly remarkable, it is a fairly standard katana, save for the extended white grip, and corresponding snow white saya and ribbon, which also happens to sport a kawaii little silver smiley…

Not particularly menacing… However in the series, it is just as lethal as any other… So don’t hate it because it’s white… and it’s got a ribbon… and a smiley… and it’s all Kawaii… errm… *cough*

I can feel my testosterone ebbing away with every additional word. So I’ll be ending this post here… I’m thinking I’m gonna have to blog about something particularly wicked next time around…
Rukia Kukichi Zanpakuto “Sleeved White Snow” – [True Swords]

08
Jan
08

A realistic anime sword…

If you’re a regular at this blog, you’ve probably all heard me poke fun at various anime swords at one point or another, usually due to unrealistic sizes, or features, or functionality, etc., regardless of their cool factor. However today, I thought I’d review an anime based sword that has a decidedly down to earth bent to it’s design:

Urahara Kisuke Zanpakuto
Urahara Kisuke Zanpakuto
[view full size]

Now this sword is from the Anime Bleach, and is a Zanpakuto, or “soul slaying” sword. The Zanpakuto swords of bleach are unique because each sword actually possesses a sentient spirit. An interesting twist to be sure, but not what we are here to talk about today.

I posted this sword because, for once, it is actually a sword I might have blogged about even if it wasn’t an anime reproduction. The reason for this is two fold. First off, while this sword looks Japanese on the surface, it actually incorporates some design features that are not seen in traditional Japanese sword designs.

First off, and one of my favorite features, is the cool black blade, with the black coat on the edge ground out to where the hamon should be. This is interesting because although the blade of this sword has a mild curve that might indicate a differential temper, I was unable to detect an actual hamon. I’d be willing to bet there was none. Also, you will notice that the edge is ground straight across to the end of the straight section of the blade, but not up to the tip of the sword, which is atypical of Japanese design.

Another interesting feature not present in Japanese swords is the presence of a ricasso, or unsharpened section of the blade, just above the hilt. The edges of the ricasso is actually sheathed in a metal shell, and runs straight into the grip without the benefit of a guard, which is also very atypical of japanese design.

The grip is equally anomalous, in the sense that while it employs the traditional Japanese rayskin wrapped wood handle, pinned to a full tang blade, it is covered by a leather wrap, instead of the traditional Japanese cord wrap. The pommel is also not of a traditional Japanese design, having a ridged cap and a tassel, instead of an oval cap with a flat bottom, which in fact, makes it look more Chinese in aesthetic than Japanese.

Overall, an interesting hybrid sword design I thought was worth a post… 🙂

Urahara Kisuke Zanpakuto – [True Swords]

24
Oct
07

Halloween (or Cosplay) Treats…

Over the past year or so, during my frequent intarweb sojourn for interesting weapons, I’ve come across an inordinate number of wooden replicas of otherwise lethal weapons. Now I have to admit that the first time I saw them, I was a bit puzzled. I thought maybe they were safety weapons for the accident prone. Or ultra cheap knock offs. Or something similar.

It wasn’t until I happened to come across a couple of pics of Cosplayers (CosPlay or Costume Play – folks who dress up as anime or movie characters and gather are conventions of the same) wielding some pretty authentic looking weapons, (in wood) that I finally understood. BTW, if you are an anime fan, you might very well be impressed by how realistic these cosplayers look:

Here’s one of Naruto (one of my favorites):

Naruto Cosplayer
[click to view
The Endless Waltz’s flickr gallery]

Here’s a couple of the bad guys, Itachi (Mr. Red eyes on the right) and Kisame (Mr. Blue face on the left) (and yes, that is how they are supposed to look):

Itachi & Kisame Cosplayers
[click to view The Endless Waltz’s flickr gallery]

How about an Afro Samurai? (The hair isn’t quite big enough, but oh well… 🙂 ):

Afro Samurai Cosplayer
[click to view jpassionpats flickr gallery]

I was particularly impressed by this Blade cosplayer:

MorpheusBlades flickr gallery
[click to view MorpheusBlades flickr gallery]

And, of course, Morpheus and Neo…

Morpheus And Neo
[click to view MorpheusBlades flickr gallery]

I’ve linked the pictures above the to the flickr pages I found them on. Very cool. But more importantly, I realized that all of these folks had to use wooden weapons, since none are allowed to bring real weapons into a crowded cosplay convention hall. Mystery solved!

Also, since it is about Halloween, I thought I’d round up a few of the wooden movie, video game and anime weapons I’ve come across recently for your viewing pleasure. There are actually quite a few out there, but I thought these ones looked the best:

300 – Spartan Sword – Wood

300 Spartan sword
[view full size]

<^>

Naruto – Ninja Kunai – Wood

Naruto Kunai
[view full size]

<^>

Legend of Zelda – Links Sword – Wood

Legend of Zelda
[view full size]

<^>

Inuyasha – Bankotsu’s Banryu – Wood

Banryu
[view full size]

<^>

Inuyasha – Inuyasha’s Tetsusaiga – Wood

Inuyashas Tetsusaiga
[view full size]

<^>

Bleach – Renji Abarai’s Zabimaru – Wood

Zabimaru
[view full size]

<^>

Bleach – Ichigo’s Zangetsu Bankai – Wood

Zangetsu Bankai
[view full size]

<^>

God of War – Kratos’ Blades of Chaos – Wood

Karatos Swords of Chaos
[view full size]

I guess it’s cutting it close for Halloween, but if you plan on being one of these characters, or plan to cosplay any of these characters in the near future, these weapons actually do look good enough to perfect your look. And could save you from inadvertently relieving yourself or a friend, of a limb. Or of sight in one eye…

14
Sep
07

A Dumbed Down Blade…

I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend lately. It seems like many replica sword designers/manufacturers, have begun the rather distasteful practice of selectively removing sharp points from their reproductions. I have seen this occur, with much dismay, to a few video game and anime movie weapons. But the list is growing. I even talked a little about it in my “Sword of Oni” post. But what follows is an even worse example than that one.

If you have been following this blog since it’s lowly inception, you may remember I made a couple of posts on oversized Bleach weapons before. Well, our next example is yet another HumungoBleach weapon. I guess I shouldn’t go into too much detail about this weapon, because the swords of Bleach are themselves important characters, and could easily spend several posts just talking about them.

But this particular weapon is a pretty good example of the sacrilege that has been committed with some of these blades. Below is supposedly a reproduction of a weapon, specifically a Zanpakutō (a sword possessing a sentient spirit) used in the anime series Bleach, specifically by the character Renji Abarai, called Zabimaru:

Zabimaru – Renji Abarai’s Zanpakutō

Zabimaru
[view full size]

Now if you aren’t a fan of Bleach, It may not be immediately obvious what’s wrong with the picture above. But being the helpful chap that I am, I’m gonna show you. Below is what this sword is supposed to look like:

Zabimaru - Bleach
[view full size]

That sword on the right? That’s Zabimaru. Uh huh. Incidentally, that huge baboon with a snake tail, is the spirit of Zabimaru. But I guess you didn’t need to know that. I’ll get back to the matter at hand. Which is showing you an even better (though smaller) pic of what this sword is supposed to look like:

Zabimaru - Black and white

That’s Zabimaru. See how Zabimaru is segmented? See the really intimidating points on the back of each segment? See the large blade/edge and big point at the tip of the last segment of the blade? Well, now look at the repro again. If you are anything like me, you should at this juncture, be hollerin’ (at the top of your lungs) the following:

WHAT IN TARNATION DID THEY DO TO ZABIMARU?

Look at it. They sucked all the wickedness out of it! What is this obscenity, and what have you done to Zabimaru! Come on! This is supposed to be a menacing, saw-toothed, over-sized “Don’t- even- THINK- ’bout- lookin’- at- me- sideways- or- I’ll- cut- you- in- half” sword! NOT a giant freakin’ COMB!!! Gah! Ok, breathe, man, breathe… Woosah… *sigh*

Ya know, I’ll grant you that I am a weapons nutcase. I’ll also concede that I *might* be making a big deal out of what is simply an ungainly  lump of steel to everyone else. I can even understand what one might be tempted to cut corners and stuff, but really, I’d much rather just enjoy looking at a really expensive repro, than buy a cheap, badly made one.

It always gets my goat to see something that could have been soo cool, get soo butchered to this extent. Especially when the design of this sword is so integral to it’s functionality and it’s role in the series. (Watch the Bleach anime and you’ll see what I’m saying). Such a waste… Rounding off all those perfectly good points… Bastiges…

Renji Abarai’s Zanpakutō – Zabimaru – [King Of Swords]

22
Apr
07

Worlds Most Xtreme Kitchen Knife!

Ok, So when did it become OK for your standard everyday kitchen knife to take steroids? Huh? Dunno what I’m taking about? I’m talking about your everyday, iron chef variety kitchen knife. Only on steroids. Or suffering from a severe case of gigantism. Big enough to makes Arnie the Gubernator look like 90lb. weakling. Scary stuff. What? Still not getting it? Well I’ll show you. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Our next entry in our premier humongousword saga is yet another fixture from the Bleach aniverse (Yeah, Aniverse. Like Anime Universe? Uh-Huh. I know. It isn’t a real word. Deal Wit it. ; P) And get this: This is the base form of the Zangetsu Bankai Sword I just blogged about. Apparently this sword undergoes a transformation into the lean, mean, black moon slicing machine that is the Zangetsu Bankai. Anyway, Here it is: The Zangetsu Shikai Long Sword – Cutting Moon from the Bleach Anime Series.

Zangetsu Shikai – Cutting Moon

Zangetsu Shikai Long Sword
[view full size]

OK, now just try and tell me that sword isn’t just an overgrown kitchen knife. Just Try. Ya know, I even think I know where he got it. Hey Ichigo! The Jolly Green Giant wants his Chef knife back. He also says to quit “borrowing” his silverware!!

Bleach – Ichigo Kurosaki’s Zangetsu Shikai

Bleach Ichigo Zengetsu Shikai
[view full size]

What is it with these anime characters nowadays that they have to get bigger and bigger swords? Did the monsters get bigger than they were before? Tougher? What? No, really, what? Used to be a well trained ninja could take out a 8 story snake with a Kunai. Now you need a 41″ wannabe cleaver? Bigger is not always better folks! I guess they just don’t make ’em like they used to…

Zangetsu Shikai Long Sword – Cutting Moon – [swordseller.com]




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